Bread

Swedish Cardamom Brioche

Makes 12 buns. Adapted from a Posie Harwood recipe on Food52.com.

Cardamom is used in baked goods throughout Northern Europe, especially in Sweden. These buns are tender and pillow soft — bright, citrusy cardamom is the perfect match for the butter- and egg-rich dough.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (320 grams)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom
12 tablespoons buttered, softened
1/4 cup milk, warmed slightly
2 tablespoons warm water
5 eggs
2–3 tablespoons Swedish pearl sugar

Whisk the dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the dough hook, and start the mixer on low speed. Add the butter and mix until it’s coated with flour and broken into blobs. Add the milk, water, and four eggs (reserve the fifth egg for later). Increase the mixer speed to medium. Beat for about 15 minutes, then increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Mix for another 5–10 minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and almost forms a ball. (Because of the richness of this dough, it takes a long time for the gluten to properly develop. Definitely use a stand mixer for this recipe!)

Transfer the dough to a well-buttered bowl, cover, and let rise for 2–3 hours, until doubled in size. Then, chill the dough for an hour to make shaping the very soft dough easier.

While the dough chills, generously butter a heavy 8”x 8” baking tin and line the bottom with baking parchment (cut to fit).

Scrape the cold dough onto a well-floured work surface. Use a bench knife to turn the dough twice, coating it lightly with flour. Shape the dough into a rectangle and cut it in half long-wise; then, cut each half into six equal pieces. Gently roll each piece into a ball.

Place the balls into the baking tin (there will be a little room between them). Cover loosely and let rise for about 1 hour. Make an egg wash by beating the fifth egg with 2–3 tablespoons of water, and preheat the oven to 350˚ F.

Just before popping the pan into the oven, gently brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle on the pearl sugar. Bake the buns for 20–25 minutes until they’re tall, glorious, and golden brown.

Let the buns cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out of the tin onto a cooling rack to cool further before serving.

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Grinding cardamom, yourself and as needed gives the best flavor. If you are working with cardamom pods, crack them by pressing a heavy pan on them. Pick the seeds out of each pod and discard the husks. Grind the seeds to a powder with a mortar and pestle or in an electric grinder.